Emma Thompson Opens Up About Tough ‘Leo Grande’ Nude Scene, Shows ‘Intimacy Without Romance’

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Sophie Hyde has never read a script so fast. The 52 tuesdays The filmmaker was in quarantine in Australia when she learned a director was needed for an independent film written by Katy Brand that would star two-time Oscar winner Emma Thompson as a lonely widow of 55 and an empty nest who hires a sex worker (Daryl McCormack) because she’s never had an orgasm in her life.

“The concept [was] awesome and Emma is brilliant, but together they felt like magic,” Hyde told Us during a recent interview for the resulting sex-positive comedy-drama, Good luck to you, Leo Grandewhich premiered to raves — and Oscar buzz for Thompson — at the Sundance Film Festival in January (the film is now streaming on Hulu).

While much of Both Hands is conversational, almost scenic, as Nancy nervously deliberates whether to go through various actions with Leo, the film garnered plenty of attention for its climactic, fulfilling sex scene – which Thompson and company revealed was not originally in the script but added mid-production.

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“We headed there as a group,” says Thompson, 63. “It was earned through our exploration of the characters and the situation and what was right. You couldn’t have kind of made up your mind about the ending until we took the trip with them…These two people were having a great, unqualified fun…And yet it wasn’t a romance . I loved it. I thought it was radical to show intimacy without romance.

love in fact, Leo Grande is not.

Emma Thompson and Daryl McCormack in Good luck to you, Leo Grande. (Photo: Searchlight Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection)

Thompson called a scene in the film — where Nancy stands fully naked, staring at herself in the mirror — the hardest thing she’s ever done. The Sense and sensitivity and Harry Potter The star tells us she got away with it “being Nancy.” After some resistance, anyway.

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“I mean, I was dragged around, kicking and screaming. I was like, ‘Please don’t force me to do this. Please,” she recalled. “But I said, ‘Okay. Its good. It’s not me… Nancy doesn’t object… She doesn’t judge herself negatively or positively. It’s a strangely neutral gaze and she looks at herself, not because of the outside, but because of the inside. She is suddenly able to feel herself. So it’s sort of a rebirth. So that look in the mirror is the first time she’s seen her body, really.

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Hyde says she was aware of Thompson’s reservations.

“Because Emma is an amazing person who is very intellectually stimulating, and she has a lot of intellectual ideas, but she’s still like us, just steeped in a culture that teaches us that we have to hate our bodies,” says Hyde. .

“You know, it’s not easy to get out of it… And especially as an actress, she faces that all the time… I knew it was a hard thing to do. I don’t think I realized how difficult this time would be for her. Because she knows that for Nancy, Nancy has just accessed this great pleasure in herself… For the first time in her life, she doesn’t care what it looks like.

— Video produced by Anne Lilburn and edited by Jimmie Rhee

Good luck to you, Leo Grande is currently streaming on Hulu.

Watch the trailer:

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